Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL3
Good 2 person tent that really strikes a balance between weight and livability
- Very light - 3lbs packed weight
- Roomy for 2
- Lots of storage pockets inside
- 1 pole setup
- Some color coding
- Vents in doors, can be opened and closed from inside
- Reflective guy lines and stake points
- Fragile material
- 3 people would not be fun inside
- Semi-free standing, so stakes are required
- Fixed length guy lines on body and fly ends
- Zippers - small, snaggy, requires 2 hands
- Door vents don't stay open
Note - This is the newer Solution Dye version of the Tiger Wall UL3.
If you read my reviews you may know I don't like 2 person UL tents. In my travels, I have not had luck leaving equipment in the vestibules. Spiders, scorpions, porcupine and possum have all made their way to my vestibules. So, we require a tent big enough for gear inside. After looking at the Tiger Wall UL2, we decided on the Tiger Wall UL3. The UL2 is just too small to spend any time in and there is no room inside for gear. The UL3 solves this problem with a 38 square ft floor. Now, I cannot recommend this tent for 3 people unless very small or very, very good friends.
The floor is tapered at a supposed 66" wide at the head and 60" at the foot by 88" long. My measurements were a little smaller than that at 65" x 57" x 84" long. BA must either need a new tape measure, or they need to stop pulling their tents so tight that the seams burst. Anyway, if you're expecting this to be 88" long, you might be disappointed.
I took some pics with our 2 person Klymit double pad inside. You can see it's a great size for that pad with some room on each side for bags, boots... But no way I could squeeze another pad in there. We also have an Exped Synmat Duo that we typically use with this tent. Both taper and with that you get more room at the feet for gear.
In the pic below, you can see the pole structure. This is all 1 pole with the brow pole connected via a plastic hub that rotates into position. Pole configuration is a Y vs an X. There are 2 poles at the head and 1 at the foot. That 1 at the foot = semi-freestanding. At this stage of the setup, there is a decent amount of wobble at the foot due to that single pole. But, once the fly is snapped in and staked out, it became much more stable.
I toyed with ways to make this more free-standing. I found I could take the tent splint, run some cord through it and tie the ends with a little slack. Pulled the splint over the back pole, the cordage keeps it fairly tight on the pole. Then put 2 pole handles into the cordage and down to the rear stake out lines. It worked ok and did give a lot of rigidity. Not sure I would do this in the field unless it was crazy windy. Just an idea for future designs.
And this is why we bought the 3 person version. I'm 5'9", wife is 5'2" we have great head space and our shoulders are just barely free from touching the netting, but not by much. We absolutely love the size of this tent! There is decent room for packs, shoes... everything (minus food of course) in the tent. And we can still move around comfortably.
Inside, there are lots of pockets, one small above your head, one on each side near the head and one on the back wall. This back wall one is our favorite for putting gloves and hats in. I can't tell you how many times we have lost a glove in the tent and spend 5 minutes tearing the shelter apart.
The fabric of the tent is the most fragile of any tent I have owned. Even our LL Bean Microlite 2 UL had thicker fabric. You can easily see your hand through the fabric. This also means those mid afternoon naps are going to be bright, so find a shady spot to pitch if you want a dark tent.
So be careful with this tent. Get some sort of footprint, use both hands on the zipper and watch for snaggy items. And it should last you a while.
The foot of the tent has a neat triangle guy system with a small plastic expander to raise the bathtub floor off the ground and provide some vertical height. This works well, except, there are no included tensioners on these. I found it best to have a tensioner on both the inner and on the fly, this allowed for use of the same stake but, I was able to move the fly out further from the inner and create a little more space between the 2, thus reducing condensation wicking when they touch. Long term, I'll probably replace the guys at the foot with something different to allow using rocks or differently spaced stakes.
The fly attaches at 3 points using these clips. The rear clip is color coded, so it helps getting the fly on correctly. I found myself fumbling with these in the dark, and after a few days of being in the dirt, I had to clean them off to get them to go in. They work fine but keep your flashlight handy if setting up in the dark. The stake loops are a very thin cordage, I'd recommend you bring some spare cordage just in case.
We've had the tent out on several trips and it has performed without issue. We took the tent to the infamously windy, Wind River range in Wyoming. Neither wind nor rain caused us issue. We put on a lot of miles on this trip and the 3 lb weight was really nice.
The Wind Rivers are also known for their substantial mosquito population. The netting easily bested the bugs and as long as we moved quickly, we had no issues inside the tent. The nights in the Wyoming are always cold, so we did use the door vents and experienced very little condensation inside the tent or on the fly in the morning. Properly guyed out (bring some extra guys and tensioners for the foot or if you will be on rocky ground) the tent is nearly as stable as our freestanding tents with livable wind flapping and no rain issues.
As mentioned by every reviewer of the Tiger Wall, the zippers are not great. We were able to get them stuck on the rain fly a few times. However, nowhere near as badly as the Klymit Cross Canyon. And using 2 hands, one to hold and the other to zip does minimize the zipper sticking. Having 2 zippers on the body (one at the bottom and one for the top, is a bit odd. I see why they did it, with a 90 degree angle, having 1 zipper would have been problematic. And it mostly works. I really wish tent manufactures would move to waterproof zippers and ditch the problematic rain shield that covers the zipper and is the bane of late-night tent exits.
The weight is where the Tiger Wall shines. I like to know how much each component weighs so I know how to split it up and what I save by leaving bags at home.
The stakes are Big Agnes' 6" Dirt Daggers. I put into some decently hard ground without bending them and they all held in the ground tightly. Given their short length, they may not perform well in loose sand.
I was really nervous buying this tent. I was afraid of its fragility and thin fabrics. But after several uses, I'm confident it will hold up to our usage. If you are looking for a very light, roomy 2 person or impossibly tight 3 person tent the Tiger Wall UL3 is a recommend. It has a few shortcomings from being non-freestanding to the thin materials. But the weight savings over the long miles will likely pay off. Now if you are one that tends to be hard on equipment or is using a tent in very harsh conditions, this is not a tent for you. Compared to our Sierra Designs Meteor Lite 3, the Tiger Wall UL3 is almost 1 pound lighter (2lbs lighter than 2022 Meteor Lite). However, the Sierra Designs is larger, free standing and thicker material.
We have tried several tents in the past. This is our 4th 3 person tent.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: 400
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Current Retail: $449.95-$499.95
Historic Range: $336.93-$499.95
5.5 x 19 in
8ft² + 8ft²
|Fast Fly Weight||
|Fly and floor||
solution-dyed water-repellent silicone treated nylon ripstop with a 1200mm water-resistant, polyurethane coating
solution-dyed nylon ripstop breathable and polyester mesh
Waterproof, solvent-free polyurethane taped seams (No PVC or VOCs)
DAC Featherlite NFL pole system and hub pole design